Monday, May 4, 2009

Cappadocia! Caves, Star Wars and Underground Cities!

1752 (local time)
Yesterday, we arrived into Cappadocia, in Turkey. It’s a lovely little town, that is renowned for its caves. They have turned the caves into houses, where people still live today.
We are staying in the cheapest hostel… ever for only 4 euro a night. Which includes breakfast and coffee and tea. Its awesome! So last night we booked a tour, called the Green Tour that takes us too all the places that are out of town. So this morning we were picked up by a bus at 930 in the morning and the tour started.

My main concern was weather to go, shorts or jeans. Which can often be the deciding factor of how much fun you have on the day. Because, if you wear jeans and it ends up getting quite hot and you have to walk a lot, its probably one of the worse things that could happen. I can only assume that its just as bad as dropping your half eaten ice-cream on the ground. OR, you could wear shorts, which are great for walking… when its warm, but as soon as that wind kicks in, it could ruin your day, and you could end up with cold! Nothing worse than feeling average on holidays.

Anyway, I went for the shorts, and although it was FREEZING in the morning, as you can see by the pictures! I honestly think it paid off for me at the end.

Anyway, so we left at 930 and the first places we were taken to was, on top of a cliff face, where we were given amazing views, and were told a little bit about Cappadocia. We stayed there for about 15 minutes before my snot started to freeze (not just because of shots) and the rest of the tour got on the bus and headed down to the Under Ground city (UGC). When we arrived at the UGC, the line to get into the cave was huge. So our guide made a good decision, and decided to go to the Star Wars caves and the Ihlara Valley or River Valley Walk.

It was a long trip to the Star Wars caves, maybe an hour, but the mountains with the snow on top of them made it all worthwhile.

I might tell you a bit about these Star Wars caves, well in one of the Star Wars episodes (the Lee’s could probably help out here) he where the little sand people attack C3-PO and R2D2 it think it was all filmed in this part of Cappadocia. Although all the locals didn’t see it actually being filmed here, I think it must have been photographed and then replicated in the studios! But it still looks awesome.

After trekking up these steep inclines and being out of breath because Cappadocia is situated 1000m above sea level, we had a fantastic view for lots of photos. After a quick chat with the guide about what it all meant, we were given free time, do go an explore, and just guess what young Steve, he explored. Whilst the rest of the group was happy to chill out and take in the serenity, I was climbing up walls, through windows, having a ball. Finally everyone realized how awesome this was, and followed me.

I climbed up some wall, and ended up on the second floor of this building. It was so cool, then after wandering around in pitch black, I found a small tunnel, so of course I had to go and check it out. So in I went, only to realize that it leads to one of the best photos ever. So I threw Karina the trusty camera, and she took loads of photos of me looking out through the cool cave.

The tour guide then, came over to see what all the commotion was about, he saw that I had found a cool camera spot, and when I got down from the tunnel, he pointed me and Karina to a spot to go and sit, he went off another way with my camera, and took a photo of us across a huge crevasse! It made for some awesome photos! I was BUZZING after this, but unfortunately we had to go, could of stayed there for hours, just exploring.

The rest of the tour group, got on the bus, and we headed another 45 minutes down the road, to the River Valley Walk.

When we arrived we were given our tickets, and were told a little bit about the walk, and then we left to go, and everyone would meet at the restaurant at the end of the walk. The walk was about 4km, so it shouldn’t take much more than an hour… unless your me.

So we started our walk, and I was stopping every 100metres to take photos of the water, mountains trees and of course ‘yours truly’.

It was so good, so relaxing, so peaceful. I ended up getting chatty to a lady from Holland (I think) and she was telling me about her travels, her life at home, her restaurant etc, so I a good chat with her.

When we made it back to the restaurant, the rest of the group was waiting for us. I think it took us 1.5hours, so we did ok.

After lunch (which was included in the tour) I saw one of my mates (Andy Young) from one of the other tours of ANZAC day, so I thought id pop over to have a chat.

Ok, so our restaurant was situated on the side of the river, whilst his was situated in the river, on a little island, that you can reach by a little unstable bridge that is in the water. Right, so crossed the bridge, safely, but when the waitress came to bring the guys a drink, she stepped off the bridge, and the bridge fell into the water. It was now chaos! The people in my tour had finished their lunch, and were ready to leave, but I couldn’t leave because the bridge had fallen into the water. Then, one of the waiters, had the rest of the drinks in his hand, took off his shoes and socks, rolled up his pants, and ventured into the freezing water of the Ihlara Valley. It took, 3 people to put this bridge back on the rocks, it was almost one of the funniest things I have ever seen, but really something pretty typical to happen to me.

When we got back on the bus, I was exhausted, and had a good nap as we headed all the way back to the Underground City (UGC). We got there after about 1.5 hours of driving. I put my shoes and socks back on (because I took them off to cross the river) and was all ready to go.
The UGC go hundreds of meters into the ground, but the public is only allowed to go 50metres down under. Again, I was in my element doing as much exploring as possible. It was fantastic seeing the technology they used to keep them safe from enemies and making sure that they lived as pleasantly as possible.

The UDC’s had huge ventilation shafts that get rid of the dirty air, and replace it with clean Oxygen. They had huge drinking wells, a place to bury bodies, a common room and even a church. This was all located underground.

I found out later on from Andy Young (who we are now touring with) that it actually was quite easy to dig the caves, because the dirt is quite mushy, but when it hits Oxygen it turns it hard.
We finished the tour at about 1730, and once again was exhausted, but we were good enough to climb up a mountain close to us, to watch the sunset and kick Andy’s footy around on the mountain. What really amused me was a dropped mark from me, ended up the footy bouncing all over the place down the mountain, with me yelling at a bunch of Asian tourists to stop the ball, they go to stop it, and in normal Aussie Rules fashion the ball bounces awkwardly and they miss it completely. It’s definitely a good feeling to hold a footy again.

Anyway, that’s me signing out!
On the 2nd, I will be in Olympos hanging out in the tree houses, can’t wait!
Oh… and by the way! The shorts paid off! It got quite hot at the end of the day! Was stoked!

Smoking an apple flavored waterpipe!

Maybe shorts was a bad call!

This is Cappadocia

"how many roads must a man walk down, before you can call him a man"

Still Freezing!

In one of the little hide outs!

Near the Star Wars scene!

On the Valley River Walk!

Started heating up now!

Chillin with nature!

In the Underground City!

I love this shot!

Playing footy at Sunset!

Youngie and I kickin the footy!



  1. I think it took me about an hour to read those two posts! such a laugh though...good work with all the awesome photos...keep up all those tours as long as your money will last you....they were my favourite part of travelling because you learn so much, and meet so many people!
    and sorry but it has to be said.....regarding the story of the couple who found each other again...what happened to the Steve that said "EWW!" when I told him that my friend now has a boyfriend?! hehe you really are turning into a softie! :P
    Enjoy the rest of Turkey!

  2. Whats with the "WHITE RUNNERS & SOCKS" (not cool for you) everyone will think you are a yank.


  3. photos r cool but it looks like you need a saints jumper to keep u warm!!!!! Ditch that hawks one & get on our band wagon.

    Take it easy EB

  4. Hey Steve,
    Ros said it was "Stars Wars Ep.4 A New Hope".
    My eyes started to gaze over & I had to walk away when she started telling me all about what happen in the movie.
    I like all of the "Dear Mum, look where I am" photos, keep it up.
    Whats the Beer like?

    Cheers Mart